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Skills in context

Your skills in context

Your skills in context

What skills do employers want?

We have outlined the most sought after skills and attributes on the employability skills pages, as well as in more detail on the individual skills and attributes pages in this section.  

The vast majority of skills required by employers are so-called 'transferable skills'. Quite simply, this means those skills which you might have used or developed in one situation or job, that could easily be transferred to another context. Transferable skills are increasingly important and valuable in a job market in which people change jobs - and career paths - much more often than they perhaps did in the past.  The fact that these transferable skills are so sought after is great news for anyone starting out on their career path, or looking to change jobs or careers. But, how do you ensure you market your skills in a way that is appealing to employers?

Your skills, in context

For all their transferability, skills will be used in different ways in different job roles and sectors. To give yourself the best chance when applying for a job, consider the skill in context. Ask yourself:

  • Why is this skill important for this particular role/ company/ sector?
  • How might I need to use this skill on a day to day basis?

Reading the job description thoroughly and being up to date with the sector will help you do this, and will enable you to describe and evidence the skill in a way which is meaningful and relevant to the employer, during the application process.

To illustrate what we mean, consider the following example of two jobs which both require analytical skills:

1). Information Analyst: Highly developed analytical skills will be fundamental to your job and the focus will be on analysing data, figures or other 'hard' information. You will use the analysis for reporting and possibly making recommendations.

2). Charity Fundraiser: You will need to use analytical skills to analyse a situation, or somebody's thoughts or feelings about the charity for which you are fundraising. You will use this analysis, along with your people skills, to inform your behaviour, what you say and how you say it, to try and convince that person to donate.

As you can see, although the person specification for both of these jobs would simply state 'analytical skills', they would be used in quite different ways in each job.